Duma villagers vow to remain on land year after firebombing that killed 3

A number of Palestinian officials said that the anniversary of the firebombing should serve as a reminder to the Palestinian people that they must unite to prevent another firebombing.

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August 1, 2016 04:55
3 minute read.
Mahmoud Al-Aloul, Ahmed Dawabsha and Walid Assaf at the Duma ceremony.

Nasr Dawabsha addresses rally in Duma and his nephew, Ahmad Dawabsha, sits by his side. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

 
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Violent attacks by extremist settlers won’t force Palestinians in the village of Duma to leave their land, Nasr Dawabsha told a crowd that gathered there on Sunday evening, marking the one-year anniversary of the firebombing attack that killed three members of his family.

“You all are delusional. You thought that your crime would make us leave our land, but we have disappointed you. We will steadfastly remain in our land,” Nasr shouted out as he stood on a makeshift stage.

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A young Palestinian girl from Duma clad in traditional dress recited a poem about the attack.

“They burned an infant, they burned an infant,” she said.

On July 31, 2015 Jewish extremists allegedly firebombed the Dawabsha family’s one-story home. Sa’ad (Nasr’s brother), his wife, Riham, and their sons Ahmad and 18-month-old Ali were inside during the attack.

Ali died within minutes and Sa’ad and Riham succumbed to their wounds in the following weeks. Only Ahmad survived, undergoing several operations and with more to come.

During the commemoration, the village center was packed with cars from all over the West Bank and Israel.

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Bright-yellow Fatah and Palestinian flags were ubiquitous and a couple of green Hamas flags could be seen. Palestinian officials, freed prisoners, Duma locals, a former member of the Knesset and many others sat and stood in the yard of The Martyr Ali Dawabsha School.

Six-year-old Ahmad Dawabsha sat front and center and cameramen tried to take his picture from every angle. With the onslaught of cameras, Ahmad seemed unfazed, but when members of the Palestinian Authority security forces’ honor band picked him up, he cracked a smile.

Mahmoud al-Aloul, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, told The Jerusalem Post on the sidelines of the event that he still struggles to believe the firebombing happened. “It is hard to believe that there is a human, who perpetrated such a crime in setting children and an entire family afire. This crime is totally unprecedented.”

Aloul added that he hopes that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, but has little faith in the Israeli legal system.

“The Israeli government should stop these crimes and prosecute the perpetrators, but instead it is hiding the evidence and trying to find excuses to save the people responsible for the crime.”

In January 2016, Israeli authorities arrested and charged two Israelis in connection with the firebombing.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official in charge of monitoring settlement activity, went one step further, calling for the international community to compel Israel to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“We say to the world that it should take action to bring the perpetrators of this crime and the leaders of the occupation to justice, which have always provided protection to the settlers,” he said.

A number of Palestinian officials said that the anniversary of the firebombing should serve as a reminder to the Palestinian people that they must unite to prevent another such attack. Muhammad al-Baraka, a former member of the Knesset, said: “What we must do now to stop this series of crimes is to achieve Palestinian national unity. I call on all Palestinians to unite now.”

Akram Rjoub, the PA’s governor of the Nablus region, reiterated Baraka’s remarks, saying, “Our people must unite and our political forces must undertake its responsibility and come together... The time has come for us to unite.”

At the end of the rally, Ahmad took control of the lectern, offering his thanks to the crowd and mentioning his parents’ names. “My parents are Riham and Sa’ad and my brother is Ali. Thank you for coming today,” he said.

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